Report finds sportsmen major factor in economy

She cites a recent study of activity in just one of several valleys in the region, which generates a $500,000 economic benefit each year.

Churchill County, home to Stillwater Wildlife Refuge, acts as an economic engine to Fallon. The refuge draws 15,000 visitors a year, says Janet Schmidt, visitor services manager.

Hunters typically come from elsewhere in the state, she says, adding that quite a few have started to come from California.

Those hunters support the health of habitat through the federal Duck Stamp program. And the Nevada Waterfowl Association is active locally in habitat restoration. That work results in additional hunter visitation during the off-season.

Nearby Fallon benefits, too, as hunters and anglers head to town for lodging and supplies.

Other visitors to the refuge, like birders, are usually from out of state, says Schmidt. Those tourists typically are just passing through but see the refuge on a map and stop. The result is a symbiotic relationship with merchants in Fallon, where they stop to refresh.

To piggyback on that tourist traffic, the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge and City of Fallon jointly applied for and won grant money from Nevada Commission on Tourism to devise a marketing plan deemed so spot-on that it's now used as a model statewide.

Nevada's 182,000 hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $417 million a year on hunting and fishing, says the report from Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.

The report got support from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and Safari Club International. Those contributors point to the money spent on vehicles, boats, weapons and guide services.

A report by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Service points out the importance of wildlife-based recreation on isolated regions.

"That type of tourist values more remote areas as a part of the experience," it says. And studies show that demographic typically is wealthier and willing to spend more money.

And Nevada sportsmen annually spend more than the cash receipts from the state's top five agricultural commodities cattle, hay, dairy, onions and potatoes. Sportsmen spend $417 million as opposed to the $406 million generated by crops.

Sportsmen support as many jobs in Nevada 5,000 as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, the national study said. And it pointed out that more people hunt and fish in Nevada than get married in Las Vegas 182,000 compared to 110,000.


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